The song title Man and Machine might evoke images of sci-fi and cyborg technology, but The Pattern Forms is a parallel universe away from the cold lines and minimalism of Kraftwerk’s Man Machine.
If the song does have a sci-fi edge, it’s because it sounds like the theme from Airwolf played by Tangerine Dream and The Alan Parsons Project.
The Pattern Forms is Ed McFarlane and Edd Gibson of Friendly Fires and Jon Brooks aka The Advisory Circle. Their new album Peel Away the Ivy is another brilliant album on Ghost Box Records, one of the the UK’s most visionary labels.
Like many Ghost Box releases, it plays on a nebulous collective memory of 70s and 80s library music and haunted folk, with analogue synths not so much covered in dust, but sprinkles of moss and bracken.
But while a lot of Ghost Box records have a comfort blanket warbled VHS muffle, Peel Away the Ivy has that big 80s studio sound, with ornate acoustic plucks and reverbed snares and percussion tics echoing around Brooks’ melancholy synth lines.
Man and Machine is the ‘danciest’ track on the album, but you can imagine dancing to it like an 80s band with those guitars with no heads. The circular synth line, motorik beat and McFarlane’s floaty vocals make it another analogue earworm from the Ghost Box family.